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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Elvis of Cyber Law - Lawrence Lessig

So Lawrence Lessig, the Elvis of CyberLaw, Professor of Law at Standford, author of Free Culture, gets onto Dead Beat.

"No offense. I too mourn the passing of Jack Valenti, but get with it you blogger and user of the internet (or abuser as Vanenti would tell you) he was a bit of a radical. Now, here's the thing you've got to remember. You've got to see this. This is the point. (And Jack Valenti misses this.) Here's the point: Never has it been more controlled ever. Take the addition, the changes, the copyrights turn, take the changes to copyrights scope, put it against the background of an extraordinarily concentrated structure of media, and you produce the fact that never in our history have fewer people controlled more of the evolution of our culture. Never.

Enter the Internet. Every act is a copy, which means all of these unregulated uses disappear. Presumptively, everything you do on your machine on the network is a regulated use. And now it forces us into this tiny little category of arguing about, "What about the fair uses? What about the fair uses?" I will say the word: To hell with the fair uses. What about the unregulated uses we had of culture before this massive expansion of control? Now, unregulated uses disappear, we argue about fair use, and they find a way to remove fair use, right?"

"Whoh, Lessig, you're shouting."

"Goddamn right!"

This Is What We Think Is In This Movie - Jack Valenti

It's the "Dead" in Dead Beat but old D.B. is taken with the passing of life. you know too he is taken with Cinema, so when Jack Valenti dies he sits up and takes notice.

"In a sometimes unreasonable business, Jack Valenti was a giant voice of reason. He was the greatest ambassador Hollywood has ever known, and I will value his wisdom and friendship for all time." — Steven Spielberg.

Jack Valenti, was a former White House aide and film industry lobbyist who instituted the modern movie ratings system and guided Hollywood from the censorship era to the digital age.

Valenti was a special assistant to and confidant of former U.S. president Lyndon Johnson before being lured to Hollywood in 1966 by movie moguls Lew Wasserman and Arthur Krim.

When he took over as president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Valenti was caught between Hollywood's outdated system of self-censorship and the liberal cultural explosion taking place in America. He abolished the industry's restrictive Hays code, which prohibited explicit violence and frank treatment of sex, and in 1968, oversaw the creation of today's letter-based ratings system.

"While I believe that every director, studio has the right to make the movies they want to make, everybody else has a right not to watch it," Valenti told the Associated Press shortly before his retirement in 2004. "All we do is give advance cautionary warnings and say this is what we think is in this movie."


Sawing the Mutt in Half

So Hudson ambles up to Dead Beat. "I want to show you a trick."

"The Vanishing Dog Routine or Sawing the Mutt in Half, I hope."

"Woof, Dad, woof. No here, take a card, any card."

Dead Beat takes a card.

"Don't show me." Hudson turns away. "Put it back in the pack, anywhere."

Dead Beat obliges.

"Shuffle the pack."

Dead Beat does his famous one-handed shuffle.

"Now cut it once for every year of your age."

So Dead Beat cuts it 21 times.

"Look at the top card."

"How did you do that, Hudson!! How did you do it!!"

"See you on the Jay Leno show big dog."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Magic of Mosquitoes

Darn it! As I sit here blogging I have got the first mosquito bite of the season. Snuck into my office and caught me unawares as I was writing about Cyril Takayama.

It was a moment of distraction, and then it struck. Those mosquitoes have this magic fine tuned too.

So did you spot when he parted the elastic bands?

I can show you my bite, or is it just an illusion?

The Elasticity of Writing

So Dead Beat wants you to watch this. Cyril Takayama, a Japanese/French American illusionist born and raised in California. Like David Blaine a street magic kind of guy.

So watch this illusion and if you have an ounce of writing ability within yourself, figure it out.

Watch closely!


So Dead Beat walks into an Irish bookshop. All pink colours and wispy cartoon female twenty-somethings on the covers. Whatever happened to leprachauns and begorrahs, the priest and the confessional, corned beef and cabbage?

We are in danger of stereotyping ourselves, good writers that we are.

Top o' the morning to you.

Hudson and the Silent Treatment

Hudson is still not talking to me. Still miffed about not being allowed go to Ireland.

"But you were born in Canada," I tell him.

Not a yelp.

"They've never heard of Randy Bachman."


"Eh is not a word."

The silent treatment.

"Hudson, you can't bark in Irish. No one would understand you... Come back, don't do that....Hudson!"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dead Beat's Been Bending Spoons Again

Strange as it might sound, Dead Beat has been at a loss for words recently. Something about his trip home stalled him in his tracks. The fact the ice is gone and the geese are back might have something to do with it too.

In the meantime he whiles his time away reading magic books. What else are writers if not illusionists? How else can we expect to improve our craft?

Move over Uri Geller Dead Beat's hitting town.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Paul Muldoon: Cows

Even as we speak, there’s a smoker’s cough
from behind the whitethorn hedge: we stop dead in our tracks
;a distant tingle of water into a trough.

In the past half-hour—since a cattle truck
all but sent us shuffling off this mortal coil—
we’ve consoled ourselves with the dregs

of a bottle of Redbreast. Had Hawthorne been a Gael,
I insist, the scarlet A on Hester Prynne
would have stood for “Alcohol.”

This must be the same truck whose taillights burn
so dimly, as if caked with dirt,
three or four hundred yards along the boreen

(a diminutive form of the Gaelic bóthar, “a road,”
from bó, “a cow,” and thar
meaning, in this case, something like “athwart,”

“boreen” has entered English “through the air”
despite the protestations of the O.E.D.):
why, though, should one taillight flash and flare

then flicker-fade
to an afterimage of tourmaline
set in a dark part-jet, part-jasper or -jade?

That smoker’s cough again: it triggers off from drumlin
to drumlin an emphysemantiphon
of cows. They hoist themselves onto their trampoline

and steady themselves and straight away divine
water in some far-flung spot
to which they then gravely incline. This is no Devon

cow-coterie, by the way, whey-faced, with Spode
hooves and horns: nor are they the metaphysicattle of Japan
that have merely to anticipate

scoring a bull’s-eye and, lo, it happens;
these are earth-flesh, earth-blood, salt of the earth,
whose talismans are their own jawbones

buried under threshold and hearth.
For though they trace themselves to the kith and kine
that presided over the birth

of Christ (so carry their calves a full nine
months and boast liquorice
cachous on their tongues), they belong more to the line

that’s tramped these cwms and corries
since Cuchulainn tramped Aoife.
Again the flash. Again the fade. However I might allegorize

some oscaraboscarabinary bevy
of cattle there’s no getting round this cattle truck,
one light on the blink, laden with what? Microwaves? Hi-fis?

Oscaraboscarabinary: a twin, entwined, a tree, a Tuareg;
a double dung-beetle; a plain
and simple hi-firing party; an off-the-back-of-a-lorry drogue?

Enough of Colette and Céline, Céline and Paul Celan:
enough of whether Nabokov
taught at Wellesley or Wesleyan.

Now let us talk of slaughter and the slain,
the helicopter gunship, the mighty Kalashnikov:
let’s rest for a while in a place where a cow has lain.


The Beat has been to Ireland. He has met with many great literary figures. He has been honoured, chastised. He has wiped S. Heaney's shoes. P. Muldoon's nose. He peed in the same cistern as Brendan Behan. He ate Flann O' Brien's ham sandwich. He wrote and rewrote the same Yeat's poem over and over again.

He bought a shamrock button. He stole a U2 poster.

He is as Irish as Irish can be!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kurt in Dinner Conversation

D.B. went to dinner. The noise was excruciating, boring guests, nevertheless he overheard these snippets:

Graham Greene: 'One of the best living American writers.'

Michael Crichton: 'He writes about the most excruciatingly painful things. His novels have attacked our deepest fears of automation and the bomb, our deepest political guilts, our fiercest hatreds and loves. Nobody else writes books on these subjects; they are inaccessible to normal novelistic approaches.'

John Irving: 'He is our strongest writer, the most stubbornly imaginative. He is not anybody else, or even a version of anybody else, and he is a writer with a cause.'

Tom Wolfe: 'As a writer, I guess he's the closest thing we had to a Voltaire. He could be extremely funny, but there was a vein of iron always underneath it, which made him quite remarkable.'

Jay McInerney: 'He is a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion.'

Gore Vidal: 'He was imaginative; our generation of writers didn't go in for imagination very much. Literary realism was the general style. Those of us who came out of the war in the 1940s made it sort of the official American prose, and it was often a bit on the dull side. Kurt was never dull.'

Never dull, K.V. The moon has no light of its own.


Back home. All of this overcome by Kurt's death. Bear with me a while. The world shifted on its axis. I am lop-sided.